The 2023 Oscars will air this Sunday. But four anonymous voting members gave a little insight into the process.
Entertainment Weekly talked to an actor, a director, a costume designer, and a marketer– all members of the Academy–about their 2023 Oscars picks for its annual secret ballot survey. And it may be an interesting night to watch based on the voters’ final choices and if those choices align with the organization at large.
One voter, who is an actor, told the outlet that he had “sort of stopped watching them” regarding the Oscars before becoming a voting AMPAS member. “I was so disgusted by the whole thing, and then I got into the Academy, and now I’m forced to — so, be careful what you wish for. The whole Hollywood back-slapping, ‘get a big stinkin’ load of me,’ it’s not a newsflash, it just seems to get worse and worse.”
“I think the Academy is making an effort to please everybody, and it’s reflective of the state of the world, but I feel like they’re being held hostage — somewhat unfairly — by the wokeness,” the long-time entertainer added, and mentioned his issue with the group’s “increasingly political and increasingly commercial” tastes.
He also criticized the media blowback over Best Actress snubs for Viola Davis for her role in “The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler in “Till.”
“When they get in trouble for not giving Viola Davis an award, it’s like, no, sweetheart, you didn’t deserve it. We voted, and we voted for the five we thought were best,” he finishes. “It’s not fair for you to start suddenly beating a frying pan and say [they’re] ignoring Black people. They’re really not, they’re making an effort. Maybe there was a time 10 years ago when they were, but they have, of all the high-profile things, been in the forefront of wanting to be inclusive. Viola Davis and the lady director need to sit down, shut up, and relax. You didn’t get a nomination — a lot of movies don’t get nominations. Viola, you have one or two Oscars, you’re doing fine.”
There was a consensus among the group for the film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, which they placed as Best Picture. The group all voted for Michelle Yeoh as Best Actress for her role in the movie.
When it came to the discussion on Black women getting shut out of the academy, it got pretty deep.
“Last year, there were more Black people presenting. It’s like, come on. I think Viola Davis is talented, I didn’t see Woman King, but I’m a little tired of Viola Davis and her snotty crying. I’m over all of that. I’m willing to believe that Andrea Riseborough gave a better performance. [Danielle Deadwyler] was so pandering [in Till] for an Academy Award nomination. She was good. I mean, who wouldn’t be good in a part like that? The strong, wronged mother. But you look at the real Mamie Till, she’s not wearing all of these incredible gowns and beautifully made-up. I thought it was a confusing message. If they’d really [made a movie about] that woman, who was not used to being in the public eye and wore house dresses, she [wouldn’t have] had one incredible outfit after another. The ego behind this pushing her to be a movie star was too blatant for me,” the actor voter said.
“I do miss Viola in [Best Actress], I thought that performance deserved to be here. I didn’t need Ana [there], I needed Viola,” the costume designer responded.
You voted against a movie you admitted you didn’t see and have shared your bias about an actress to justify why she shouldn’t be upset? This is exactly why people feel strongly about how things have been done. You can’t see past your own prejudices.